Sarawak exported 100 metric tonnes of durian paste last year

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

KUCHING: Sarawak exported about 100 metric tonnes of durian paste and pulp through two Anchor Companies in Serian and Betong last year, exceeding the export target of 60 metric tonnes.

Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said most of the durian fruits were collected from Betong, Serian, Bau and Padawan areas.

“For this year, the two Anchor Companies have indicated that they will be able to export more than 200 metric tonnes of durian paste and pulp,” he said when delivering his winding up speech yesterday.

Uggah said his ministry will intensify its efforts to organise the supply and delivery of fresh fruits to assist the two Anchor Companies to achieve their target.

Towards this end, he said new Collection Centres (CCs) would be constructed at strategic locations while the Area Farmer’s Organisation (AFO) will be engaged to act as the collector of durian fruits from smallholders for delivery to the Anchor Companies.

This year, he said RM8 million had been allocated for durian rehabilitation programme in order to increase quality and output of fruits.

According to the Deputy Chief Minister, pineapple commands good demand in the world market be it in the form of fresh fruits or processed and value-added products.

Uggah said an agropreneur from Sg Kebalui, Miri managed an eight hectare pineapple farm and had been able to earn an average RM13,000 per month.

He added that his counterpart from Padang Pan, Bau who operated 20 hectares of pineapple farm was earning about RM36,000 a month.

“Pineapple planting offers good potential for growth and my ministry encourages more agropreneurs to go into pineapple production.

“Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) has indicated they are able to take in about 400 metric tonnes this year for both domestic and export market,” he pointed out.

He said his ministry through the Department of Agriculture Sarawak had allocated RM2.5 million this year for pineapple planting.

Seeking clarification, Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen asked whether the Sarawak government had any plan to develop a pineapple processing plant to add more values to the state’s agriculture products.

In a reply, Uggah said “this is our final objective” and his ministry had been working on expanding the areas of pineapple planting.

He was quick to add “I don’t think the Sarawak government will set up a factory” given that such initiative had to come from the private sector.

Prior to such establishment, he said Sarawak would require the necessary volume in order to attract the private sector to make the investment.

At present, he said 50 to 60 per cent of pineapple fruits were sold fresh and the rest had to be processed.

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